review for Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell on AllMovie

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968)
by Craig Butler review

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell is a diverting, engaging little romp, even if it falls short of being a particularly good film. Don't blame Mrs. Campbell; as personified in the very personable person of Gina Lollobrigida, she's a delight and a joy. Lollobrigida, looking sensational, exudes a rare combination of warmth and sex appeal, and she picks the film up and carries it on her exquisite little shoulders as if it were no effort at all. But it is an effort, for even though Mrs. Campbell starts out well, it begins to feel a trifle mechanical before it's halfway through. When the plot's many complications start kicking in, Melvin Frank's direction gets sloppy, and the precise pacing and attention to detail necessary to breathe life into the proceedings fall by the wayside. Shelley Winters' busy, mannered, and loud performance doesn't help matters, nor does Peter Lawford's dull and enervating one. But things pick up when Phil Silvers gets the chance to ply his comic trade, and they really take off whenever Telly Savalas and Lee Grant get the chance to show their stuff. And, of course, as long as Lollobrigida is around, it's easy to forgive Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell its flaws. This vehicle may sometimes let its star down, but the reverse is, fortunately, not the case at all.